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Career Advice

How to Become a flight attendant

Do you dream of a job that lets you jet off to far flung climes? Do you have a great personality and customer service skills? Not afraid of heights?… If the answer is yes then a career as a flight attendant might just be the path for you.

To put it `plainly` a flight attendant is a member of an air-crew whose primary duties are to ensure the safety and flight attendantcomfort of the passengers on-board. They go by many names; air steward/stewardess, flight attendant, air host/hostess and cabin crew but in reality they are all the same thing. As you will see it’s not just as straightforward as serving drinks and pointing at exits – follow this simple guide from TheEmployable and your career could really take off!

Flight attendant training programmes and career progression

Most major airlines carry out their own training programmes for flight attendants which typically last 1-3 months and often consist of online study, classroom sessions and in-flight training. Some of the topics you are likely to study are; safety equipment and procedures, first aid, aviation security and customer service. Be aware however that some airlines use a third party to deliver their training schemes and as such there is a fee attached, this is normally deducted from your first year’s salary. Details of training courses, entry requirements and application packs can be obtained from the airlines web-page and most can now be completed online.

There is excellent opportunity for career progression within most airlines and as you can imagine, as your status increases so too does your salary and benefits. You will typically begin as a junior flight attendant and after satisfactory service of a year or so, you will be bumped up to flight attendant. From here you can work your way up to senior flight attendant and chief flight attendant (also known as the cabin manager/chief purser) where you will undertake a lot more responsibility but also receive a much more generous salary and benefits package.

Qualifications and skills

Gone are the days when prospective flight attendants were subject to extreme scrutiny over their looks, age and personal life, but the skills and attributes required today remain quite high.

It is not a career which requires a vast array of academic qualifications but most airline training programmes will require at the very least GCSE English and Maths. Of greater importance to an airline is making sure that you have the right skills and personal attributes which show your potential to be a successful flight attendant. Let’s assume that you are applying to a flight attendant training programme, here are some of the things they will be looking for;

  • Excellent customer service experience. If you do not have this are there any other experiences which you could cite to demonstrate your potential?

  • Great communication skills and an ability to relay information to passengers in a way that is clear and concise

  • Lively and pleasant personality

  • Comfortable working in a sales role

  • Flexibility to work long hours with possible layovers away from home

  • Ability to work well as a member of a team

  • Excellent problem solving and decision making skills

  • Good computer literacy and the ability to adapt to using new software

  • Proven ability to organize and prioritise workloads

  • Knowledge of more than one language will definitely stand in your favour, especially with long-haul carriers

  • Ability to work quickly, accurately and often to tight turnaround times

  • Physically fit and able to swim well

  • Willing to live within 1 hour of an airport

  • To work as a flight attendant in the UK you must be over the age of 18

Of all the careers we have featured to date, I think it’s fair to say that the flight attendant is one of the most intense and requires some of the highest levels of dedication. With its unusual shift patterns and layovers away from home it’s certainly not for everyone, but for those who are well suited it can prove a rewarding and enjoyable career.

Still thinking about becoming a flight attendant? Best of luck – we hope this quick guide has been helpful.  Otherwise you might like to take a look at our rather fab career directory.

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